NAIA Terminal 3 prepares as international flights resume on Wednesday

Maris Federez   •   July 7, 2020   •   1160

MANILA, Philippines — The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 confirms its readiness for the resumption of international flights on Wednesday (July 8).

The resumption of international flight operations, however, will still be at limited capacity in compliance with the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on the allowable number of passenger arrivals.

The IATF-MEID directive said the total number of arriving passengers on international flights must not go beyond 2,400 per day.

Half of this number is allotted to repatriated Filipinos, while the rest are for passengers from commercial flights.

Airport authorities said operations at Terminal 1 are once again transferred to Terminal 3 as the volume of passengers in international commercial flights continues to increase due to the easing of travel restrictions of other countries.

As part of the preparations, Manila International Airport (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal personally inspected the terminal 3 to check if the additional chairs to be placed near the check in counters at the departure area are complete.

Health and safety protocols, such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing inside the airport are still strictly implemented. —(from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

Comelec to hold nationwide mock elections before year ends

Maris Federez   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to conduct a nationwide mock election on December 29, 2021 as part of the poll body’s preparations for the 2022 national and local elections.

According to Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Atty. Teopisto Elnas, Jr., mock elections will be done in Metro Manila and six other provinces.

In Luzon, it shall be conducted in the provinces of Isabela and Albay. In the Visayas, it shall be held in the Negros Oriental and Leyte; while in Mindanao, the mock elections will be conducted in Davao del Sur.

In Metro Manila, the selected cities for the mock elections are Pateros, Taguig, and Pasay; while in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, it will be conducted in Maguindanao province.

In total, the mock elections will be done in 34 barangays nationwide and will target 4,800 registered voters.

Comelec spokesperson, Director James Jimenez, said the commission will meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on December 4.

“To discuss the security preparations for the mock elections. Medyo ano kasi malaki yong mock elections, the mock elections will involve real voters and a real board of election inspectors. So there is a lot of concern about safety and security,” he said.

Jimenez added that the IATF is welcome to give its inputs on how the mock elections must be done.

“Hindi pa kasi final we’re just starting to prepare for it but it will be nationwide so that’s mean that it will have a location in Luzon, Visayas,and Mindanao,” Jimenez said. —/mbmf

Solons call for strict measures to prevent Omicron variant spread

Maris Federez   •   November 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers at the House of Representatives have called on the government to come up with stricter measures to prevent the possible spread of, what experts call, more transmissible coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant – the  Omicron variant.

BHW Partylist Representative Angelica Natasha Co said that if imposing a total temporary travel ban is not possible, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) should already be coordinating with hotels and other facilities that could be transformed into quarantine facilities once again for incoming foreign passengers.

“If the IATF does not impose a total temporary travel ban on countries and territories where the Omicron variant has been confirmed, then IATF must set aside hotels or facilities where all the incoming passengers from those areas shall be quarantined for 14 days,” Co said.

Co cited the transmission of the said variant in countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, and Israel.

The lawmaker underscored that as the holiday season always draws a bigger volume of passengers entering the country, the government must find ways to encourage Filipinos abroad to consider postponing their homecoming.

House Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela City 2nd District Representative Eric Martinez, meanwhile, said the national government must implement a more stringent border control in the country and not be lax in the influx of passengers from countries that have still yet to record Omicron variant cases.

“The government should force a heavy border control under all circumstances, not to be complacent even to arrivals coming from countries seemingly unaffected by the new variant,” Martinez said.

House Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy also echoed the same call of stricter border control amid the threat of the Omicron variant.

Herrera-Dy stressed the need to intensify the country’s contact tracing, rapid testing, and isolation mechanisms in all port entries in the country.

The solon said the government should already have a ready system to confront the Omicron variant threat so as not to have a repeat of lockdowns that the country experienced in the past year.

“Authorities must put additional control measures in place, including enhanced contact tracing, rapid testing and isolation, in all ports of entry nationwide,” Herrera-Dy said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Duterte approves lifting of mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Levels 1-3

Maris Federez   •   November 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the lifting of mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 3 and lower.

This lifting of the mandatory use of face shield policy was recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) following the continuous lowering of daily new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Based on the memorandum issued by the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the use of face shields is now limited to areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.

Use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 4, on the other hand, will depend on the discretion of the concerned local government units.

This means that in Metro Manila, which is under Alert Level 2, the use of face shields will now be optional.

“OK. Tanggalin na ninyo ang shield, pwede na ninyong tanggalin ang shield, but not the mask, mask will forever remain and will be part of our day to day, part of safety measure. Kasi matagal pa itong virus na nasa hangin lang,” Duterte said during his weekly public address, Talk to the People aired Monday night.

On the other hand, mandatory use of face shields remains in medical and quarantine facilities, as well as in healthcare settings.

Duterte, meanwhile, appealed to local governments to pass an ordinance that will set restrictions on going to the malls, particularly among children.

“I am calling all local government units to consider passing ordinances for age restrictions among minors, who can be allowed to go the malls. Certainly, we cannot allow those below 12 years old or those who are still unvaccinated to be exposed to the risk of getting covid-19 in public places,” the President said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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